Aug. 18, 2015 By Jackie Strawbridge
The long-awaited Astoria Park Amphitheater will include hundreds of seats, a new entrance and a tribute to the diving pool it is replacing, according to the Parks Department.
The design plan was finalized in April, which will transform Astoria Park’s defunct diving pool into an outdoor performance space.
Built in 1936 but closed for decades, the dilapidated diving pool is no longer up to code. In 2012, the Parks Depart. began the process to build an amphitheater. However, delays in obtaining materials needed for grading and drainage slowed down progress.
Design plans will provide seating for up to 500 spectators, Parks Department spokesperson Meghan Lalor said.
However, the Parks Dept. is looking into expanding the viewing area to include up to 1,600 seats, depending on Department of Buildings approval.
Construction will involve filling in the pool, creating a platform for the stage area, adding seating and installing pavement. Parks will also build a new entrance directly into the amphitheater.
The site also includes a distinctive, 32-foot Olympic high dive tower. Lalor said this dive tower will be “restored as a centerpiece to honor the history of the site.”
On the day it opened in 1936, the Astoria Park Pool hosted the Olympic swimming and diving trials.
Astoria Pool was designated a City landmark in 2006; its decorative glass block and brickwork, waterfront location and ties to the Works Progress Administration all contributed to its historic and architectural significance, the Landmarks Preservation Commission wrote at the time.
LPC approved the amphitheater project in 2014.
The project is now in the procurement phase. Construction is expected to begin spring 2016 and take between 12 and 18 months to complete.